Innovation Square ‘going to happen,’ public told at unveiling

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From The Gainesville Sun:

Innovation Square ‘going to happen,’ public told at unveiling
By Nathan Crabbe | Staff writer

The University of Florida on Monday publicly unveiled its master plan for the Innovation Square development and opened the project to public scrutiny for the first time.

The plan for the former Shands at AGH site and surrounding area includes facilities for science and technology research and established companies, along with places to eat, live and shop. The development is intended to attract businesses from outside the area and keep UF spinoffs within Gainesville.

“We have got to do something that’s going to keep those companies local … and not move away, taking those jobs with them,” said Ed Poppell, UF’s vice president for business affairs and economic development.

Poppell and project consultant David Green outlined the broad parameters of the plan, along with a few specifics. Some already have been announced, such as the Innovation Hub business incubator now being built on the AGH site.

An office building for existing science and technology companies and a UF dormitory for entrepreneurial-mined students are planned next door.

New proposals include a hotel and grocery store. A greenway would run from West University Avenue south to a new European-style public square and an expanded version of the existing Tumblin Creek Park. New streets would cross the AGH site, more landscaping would be planted, and parking garages would replace lots to encourage walking through the development.